Anne Bancroft


Anna Maria Louisa Italiano (September 17, 1931 – June 6, 2005), known professionally as Anne Bancroft, was an American actress, director, screenwriter and singer associated with the method acting school, having studied under Lee Strasberg. Respected for her acting prowess and versatility, Bancroft was acknowledged for her work in film, theater and television. She won one Academy Award, three BAFTA Awards, two Golden Globes, two Tony Awards, and two Emmy Awards and several other awards and nominations.

After her film debut in Don’t Bother to Knock (1952), with Richard Widmark and Marilyn Monroe; and a string of supporting film roles during the 1950s, Bancroft won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her lead role in The Miracle Worker (1962) as the teacher of young Helen Keller, reprising her role from the 1959 Broadway stage play in which she had won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. On Broadway in 1965, she played a medieval nun obsessed with a priest (Jason Robards) in John Whiting’s play The Devils, based on the Aldous Huxley novel The Devils of Loudun. Bancroft was perhaps best known as seductress Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967), a role that she later said had come to overshadow her other work.

Other notable roles include Gorilla at Large (1954), with Cameron Mitchell, Lee J. Cobb and Raymond Burr; The Raid (1954), with Van Heflin, Richard Boone and Lee Marvin; A Life in the Balance (1955), with Ricardo Montalban and Marvin; Sydney Pollack’s The Slender Thread (1965), with Sidney Poitier; John Ford‘s 7 Women (1966), with Sue Lyon, Margaret Leighton, Flora Robson, Mildred Dunnock, Betty Field, and Anna Lee; Richard Attenborough’s Young Winston (1972), with Simon Ward, Robert Shaw, Hopkins, and John Mills; The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975), with Jack Lemmon; The Hindenburg (1975), with George C. Scott; Sidney Lumet’s Garbo Talks (1984), with Ron Silver, and Carrie Fisher; and ‘night Mother (1986), with Sissy Spacek.

Later roles included Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), with James Caan, Nicolas Cage, and Sarah Jessica Parker; Point of No Return (1993), with Bridget Fonda, Gabriel Byrne, and Harvey Keitel; Malice (1993), with Alec Baldwin, Nicole Kidman, Bill Pullman, and Scott; How to Make an American Quilt (1995), with Winona Ryder, Ellen Burstyn, Kate Nelligan, Alfre Woodard, and Jean Simmons; Jodie Foster‘s Home for the Holidays (1995), with Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Geraldine Chaplin, and Charles Durning; Michael Cimino‘s The Sunchaser (1996), with Woody Harrelson; Ridley Scott‘s G.I. Jane (1997), with Demi Moore and Viggo Mortensen; Alfonso Cuarón’s Great Expectations (1998), with Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hank Azaria, Robert De Niro, and Chris Cooper; the animated comedy Antz (1998), with the voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Dan Aykroyd, Danny Glover and Gene Hackman; Keeping the Faith (2000), with Ben Stiller, Edward Norton (who also), Jenna Elfman, Eli Wallach, and Miloš Forman; and Heartbreakers (2001), with Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, Jason Lee, and Hackman.

Bancroft received several other Oscar nominations and continued in lead roles until the late 1980s; notable film roles during this time include The Turning Point (1977) and Agnes of God (1985), with Jane Fonda and Meg Tilly. In 1987, she starred with Anthony Hopkins in 84 Charing Cross Road. She appeared in several movies directed or produced by her second husband, comedian Mel Brooks, including Silent Movie (1976), with Brooks. Marty Feldman, and Dom DeLuise; David Lynch‘s award-winning drama The Elephant Man (1980), with John Hurt, Hopkins, and John Gielgud; as well as comedies To Be or Not to Be (1983) and Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), with Leslie Nielsen. She received an Emmy Award nomination for 2001’s Haven, and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (2003). She died two years later, in 2005, after battling cancer. Her last credited role was the animated film Delgo (2008), with the voices of Freddie Prinze, Jr., Hewitt, Chris Kattan, Louis Gossett Jr., Val Kilmer and Malcolm McDowell.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)


  • Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) – directed by Roy Ward Baker
  • Tonight We Sing (1953) – directed by Mitchell Leisen
  • Treasure of the Golden Condor (1953) – directed by Delmer Daves
  • The Kid from Left Field (1953) – directed by Harmon Jones
  • Gorilla at Large (1954) – directed by Harmon Jones
  • Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954) – directed by Delmer Daves
  • The Raid (1954) – directed by
  • Hugo Fregonese
  • New York Confidential (1955) – directed by Russell Rouse
  • A Life in the Balance (1955) – directed by Harry Horner
  • The Naked Street (1955) – directed by Maxwell Shane
  • The Last Frontier (1955) – directed by Anthony Mann
  • Walk the Proud Land (1956) – directed by Jesse Hibbs
  • Nightfall (1957) – directed by Jacques Tourneur
  • The Restless Breed (1957) – directed by Allan Dwan
  • The Girl in Black Stockings (1957) – directed by Howard W. Koch
  • The Miracle Worker (1962) – directed by Arthur Penn
  • The Pumpkin Eater (1964) – directed by Jack Clayton
  • The Slender Thread (1965) – directed by Sydney Pollack
  • 7 Women (1966) – directed by John Ford
  • The Graduate (1967) – directed by Mike Nichols
  • Young Winston (1972) – directed by Richard Attenborough
  • Blazing Saddles (1974)** – directed by Mel Brooks – uncredited extra
  • The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975) – directed by Melvin Frank
  • The Hindenburg (1975) – directed by Robert Wise
  • Urban Living: Funny and Formidable (1975) – short
  • Lipstick (1976) – directed by Lamont Johnson
  • Silent Movie (1976) – directed by Mel Brooks
  • The August (1976) – director, writer, editor only – short
  • The Turning Point (1977) – directed by Herbert Ross
  • Fatso (1980) – also director and writer
  • The Elephant Man (1980) – directed by David Lynch
  • To Be or Not to Be (1983) – directed by Alan Johnson
  • Garbo Talks (1984) – directed by Sidney Lumet
  • Agnes of God (1985) – directed by Norman Jewison
  • ‘night, Mother (1986) – directed by Tom Moore
  • 84 Charing Cross Road (1987) – directed by David Jones
  • Torch Song Trilogy (1988) – directed by Paul Bogart
  • Bert Rigby, You’re a Fool (1989) – directed by Carl Reiner
  • Honeymoon in Vegas (1992) – directed by Andrew Bergman
  • Love Potion No. 9 (1992) – directed by Dale Launer
  • Point of No Return (1993) – directed by John Badham
  • Malice (1993) – directed by Harold Becker
  • Mr. Jones (1993) – directed by Mike Figgis
  • How to Make an American Quilt (1995) – directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse
  • Home for the Holidays (1995) – directed by Jodie Foster
  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) – directed by Mel Brooks
  • The Sunchaser (1996) – directed by Michael Cimino
  • G.I. Jane (1997) – directed by Ridley Scott
  • Critical Care (1997) – directed by Sidney Lumet
  • Great Expectations (1998) – directed by Alfonso Cuarón
  • Mark Twain’s America in 3D (1998)* – narrator – documentary
  • Antz (1998)* – directed by Eric Darnell & Tim Johnson
  • Up at the Villa (2000) – directed by Philip Haas
  • Keeping the Faith (2000) – directed by Edward Norton
  • Heartbreakers (2001) – directed by David Mirkin
  • In Search of Peace (2001) – documentary
  • Delgo (2008) – directed by Marc F. Adler & Jason Maurer – posthumous released